Two conventions, two narratives, one virus

Two conventions, two narratives, one virus

WASHINGTON — For most presidential reelection campaigns the question before voters is, “are you better off now than you were four years ago?” This year the question may end up being, “are you better off now than you were four months ago?”

With more than 177,000 Americans dead as a result of COVID-19 and unemployment still in the double digits, both political parties are grappling with the realities of a nation preparing to hold a presidential election in the midst of a pandemic.

READ: CDC reverses course on testing, health experts question change

Content Continues Below

How voters feel about the handling of the crisis may ultimately determine who wins in November.

“I think that Donald Trump has failed our families during his presidency and especially during this pandemic,” says Rep Stephanie Murphy (D – FL 07). “His chaotic presidency has made it really clear that we cannot afford another four years of Trump.”

Coronavirus response leading issue of the 2020 election, polls show

In their convention, Democrats sought to lay the blame for the response to COVID-19 squarely on Donald Trump’s shoulders, pointing out his weeks of downplaying the virus, contradictory statements, advocacy of unproven cures, and what they called they detachment from reality.

Meanwhile, for Republicans the issue is one of striking a balance between public health and economic policy.

“President Trump is not responsible for this virus,” says Rep. Michael Waltz (R – FL 06). “We are dealing with something that has been devastating around the world, and I think every death has been tragic, but what we cannot do is what Vice President Biden is espousing which is going to a nationwide shutdown.”

Recent polling shows Americans do see the COVID-19 situation improving although a sizable majority still thanks the situation is very or somewhat bad. As for who Americans trust when it comes to the virus both president Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are under 50% , although Biden does have a lead on Trump in this area.